Local government finance
Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.
Cities across Canada face an enormous infrastructure deficit. From 100-year-old water mains to transit systems in vital need of upgrading and expansion, Canadian infrastructure is widely recognized to be in dire straits. And while the majority of Canadians elected a new government that was prepared to run a deficit to fund infrastructure, these funds alone will not cover the investments needed. Local governments need to make significant financial investments, too, and must raise revenues through taxes, user fees, and possibly new revenue tools. But before they can take these actions, they have to build trust to convince their residents that new revenues are needed and will be spent wisely. What does it mean to build trust? This paper examines the notion of trust and how governments can build it using: • Good information: relevant data made accessible to citizens and attractively packaged to enhance transparency; • Good communications: good stories that are well told, with relevant information distributed through a variety of channels (using open government tools and techniques); • Good engagement: inclusive and meaningful opportunities for dialogue about policy decisions to build the continuum of trust (using a variety of mechanisms); • Credibility: building an effective track record and controlling costs (through better performance benchmarking and other approaches); • Earmarking of funds: creating a dedicated fund that clearly links revenues raised to specific expenditures, and regularly reporting on the progress of projects funded. This research shows that there are concrete and practical steps that cities can take to build fiscal trust – but there are no shortcuts. Trust-building is a long-term proposition that takes resources. Cities must invest the time and dedicate the resources to build trust through all of the steps outlined, and continue to do so as part of their regular activities.
Author: Dina Graser and Pamela Robinson Publisher: http://munkschool.utoronto.ca/imfg/imfg-perspectives-paper-how-can-local-governments-build-public-trust/ Publication year: 2016
In the two decades from 1995 to 2015, Australian local governments experienced a fourfold increase in expenditure. Even more striking though, is that during this same period many local governments were stripped of their water and sewerage functions – so these figures actually underrepresent the real picture. This report proposes a range of suggestions to address the financial sustainability of local government.
Author: Roberta Ryan and Joseph Drew Publisher: The McKell Institute Publication year: 2016
The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA) has recently published the Australian Infrastructure Financial Management Guidelines. The Guidelines provide new assistance to link the technical (engineering) and financial aspects of managing infrastructure and services, and to assist infrastructure owners such as local government to develop sustainable long-term asset and financial management plans. Financial management for long-life infrastructure assets (such as roads, water, sewerage, and stormwater networks, and community buildings) is about ensuring sustainability in the provision of services required by the community. These new Guidelines offer advice for every organisation and individual with responsibility for the management of infrastructure assets.
Author: Chris Champion Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009
The multi-faceted problem of local government finance has attracted increasing attention in the new millennium. The reasons for the renewed interest in this thorny question are comparatively straightforward. In the first place, for the past two decades all public sector institutions have been profoundly affected by the twin revolutions simultaneously sweeping the world – the globalization of the international economy and the information revolution wrought by the computer age – and local government is no exception. Not only have these inexorable forces had dramatic implications for the structure of government as a whole, and relationships between the different tiers of government, but also for service provision and public finance, including local public finance. Secondly, substantially heightened demands on local government, together with limited access to adequate funding, have seen the genesis of a deepening crisis in the financial sustainability of local government entities.
Author: Brian Dollery Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009
In this paper we seek to answer some basic questions about the condition of local government in the Pacific. Firstly, we examine what is meant by ‘local government’ in the various islands and for that matter how Pacific Island states have perceived and accepted local government institutions in practice; second, we ask basic questions about existing legal and constitutional recognition and powers; and third, we provide initial findings on current per capita expenditure and local government financial viability in a number of Pacific cities and towns. We also make some observations on current moves towards local government reform.
Author: Graham Hassall, Feue Tipu Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008